Is it me or did time speed up as we got older? If this month is any indication, this year will be a blur. If that’s true, what can we do to make the best use of our time? How can we make sure we get the right things done this year?
When life is coming at you 100 mph or 160 kph, if you prefer, it’s difficult to focus on what really matters. We can find ourselves reacting to circumstances and putting out fires instead of creating the circumstances we need to succeed.
I want to share 3 simple, easy and free ideas that will help you focus more on what’s important.
1. Airplane Mode not just for Airplanes Anymore
Smartphones are technological marvels. I swear by my iPhone. But they can be a blessing and a curse. What is it about our phones that whenever they ding, buzz or ring we are compelled to check them? Text messages, app updates, and phone calls (yes, some people still actually talk. I know right?!) can be distracting and keep us from getting any work done.
With every buzz we get distracted and it takes time to get back to what we were doing. All of these minor distractions add up over time. When you need to get things done, put your phone on Airplane mode or take your office phone off the hook. This will stop all notifications, and send all of your calls to voicemail. If the idea of calls going to voicemail makes you break out in a cold sweat don’t worry, that’s what voice mail is for. Try this for predetermined amounts of
time, an hour or two. This way you remain available and you have time to get things done. Also helpful in movie theaters… just sayin’.
2. Timers are Time Savers
If you have deadlines to meet, but have trouble buckling down and getting it done, you need to use a timer. When you use a timer you understand that time is moving whether you are being productive or not. When you get up and chat, take a walk around the office and/or check on fake crops and then sit back down, the timer will tell you the truth. It doesn’t care what you are doing. It becomes your silent accountability partner. Timers are a great reminder of the value of time. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.
Here’s another benefit of using a timer – a focused block of time makes you are far more likely to accomplish your task(s). There are free online timers, app timers or you can use the timer that comes with the clock on your phone. Those dang smartphones, gotta love em.
3. Resolve to Reflect
I am a firm adherent to the “let me think that over” school of thought. In a constantly connected, fast-paced world sometimes we make decisions, respond to emails or react to situations before we have had time to weigh all of the options. I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and Blink, but I also understand that Lack of Reflection leads to loads of Regret.
The bigger the decision, the longer you need to think it over. Mull it over with trusted friends or business partners. Sleep on it or bounce the idea off of your business coach or mentor. This is not stalling, but taking a moment to allow your mind time to make all the connections necessary for the best possible outcome. Generally, 24 hours should be more than enough time for most decisions.
I hope these few suggestions help you become more productive and wildly successful in 2014.
I would love to hear what you do to find your focus.